P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



25 Pak prisoners walk free to homeland
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Wagah, November 18
It was freedom at last for 25 Pakistanis, including a journalist Sajjid Bashir, who had spent his entire youth in the Jaisalmer Jail of Rajasthan .

This is for the first time that Pakistani nationals, who were arrested on the charges of espionage and terrorist activities, were repatriated from this joint check post, here today.

Expressing gratitude to human rights organisations and judiciary, Bashir, a reporter of Lahore-based daily ‘Rehbar’, said they all were instrumental to secure his release. He was caught when he was just 22-year-old after he strayed across the Indo-Pak border near Jaisalmer on a hunting trip.

Sajid’s case, which was taken up by human right groups in Rajasthan under a habeas corpus petition, brought into focus not only his plight, but also that of 21 other foreign nationals like him. He told the mediapersons that he would open a branch of People’s Union For Civil Liberty (PUCL) to fight for the cause of foreign nationals languishing in Pakistani jails.

Unrepentant for undergoing rigorous eight-year imprisonment on the charge of crossing over to India, Mohammad Farid Mir, a resident of Muzaffarabad (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) who was also involved in digging of the long tunnel in Jammu jail, said the ‘jehad’ against the US would continue. Talking about the tunnel, he said they managed to dig 10-feet wide and 140 ft-long tunnel along with his 10 companions. They were caught because they had lost direction of the tunnel. He said his other companions were still in the jail.

Another Pakistan national, Zannat Gul of Quetta, who underwent jail for hatching conspiracy to assassinate BJP president Lal Krishan Advani and Red Fort shooting incident, claimed that he was arrested from Samba sector in May, 2000, while he was shown arrested from Delhi.

The 25 prisoners included two each from Delhi and Punjab, 11 from Gujarat, one each from Haryana, Maharashtra and Nagaland, four from Rajasthan and three from Jammu and Kashmir.

India decided to release the Pakistanis, all civilians, after the Pakistan High Commission confirmed their identities. The move follows an agreement between India and Pakistan on dealing with civilian prisoners during the second round of talks between their Home Secretaries held in August.

As part of the ongoing composite dialogue process, the two sides have agreed to provide consular access to all prisoners within three months of arrest and to release prisoners immediately after completion of sentence and verification of their nationality.

Both sides have also agreed to release all fishermen and civilian prisoners who have completed their sentence and whose national status has been confirmed.


Hindu jatha ill-treated in Pak
Varinder Walia and Rashmi Talwar

Wagah (Amritsar), November 18
The Hindu pilgrimage to the holy Katasraj shrine in Pakistan was virtually under the shadow of gun this time.

Visibly perturbed over Pakistani mismanagement, jatha members, who returned after a week-long pilgrimage, Rakesh Kumar, Vinod Bubber, Amit Kapoor and Raj Kumar Chaudhary said they were lodged at the “Tehsil” hospital away from the Katasraj shrine. Even bathrooms were stinking, halls were dirty without bedding arrangements.

The jatha was not allowed to move out of the premises and was threatened that they were on the hit list of tribals. “We could not even walk to shrine and were locked in premises while gun-totting persons were seen around nearby hill-tops and buildings. On much insistence, two persons were allowed accompanied by securitymen to buy grocery items to cook food for the jatha.”

The jatha head, Mr Shiv Partap Bajaj, president, Sanatam Dharma Sabha, came under criticism by the members, alleging that he did not take up the issue with the police or Pak administration regarding their harassment. “We were under arrest in National Hotel, Lahore. Only hotel manager helped the members by giving meals at the subsidised rates.

“While the jatha head undertook “shila lekh”, stone installation, of his father at the Katasraj shrine during the Sankranti havan, part of the jatha boycotted the visit of SDM and Tehsildar Choa Saidan Shah in protest against their maltreatment, “said Sardari Lal Kapoor. Many members refused to accept gifts from hosts.

An adviser to the Chief Minister, Punjab, who visited the jatha did not improve the condition. Indian High Commission officials were in tizzy over the maltreatment of the jatha members. The members were kept under strict vigilance and had a hard time as people fleeced them by giving a low exchange rate when they approached hotel guests and waiters for currency exchange.

Only on the last day in Lahore did Interior Ministry wake up to their plight when Mr Raja Aklas, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Interior, asked the District Coordinating officer (DCO) and the police to coordinate and allow them free movement in Lahore. An altercation ensued in Lahore when an elderly lady was rudely warned by the police for going out of the hotel for a cup of tea over which a heated exchange ensued.

Mr Munver Chand in charge, Krishna temple, Lahore, said renovation of the temple was under way at a cost of Rs 12 lakh. Meanwhile, Durgiana head Surinder Arjun wrote to the Home Minister about entire episode and called upon 16 Hindu organisations to arrive at a consensus on future jathas. Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, wrote to the Prime Minister to look into mismanagement or stop all pilgrimage jathas to Pakistan.


Pak delegates meet budding journalists
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
As part of the “Meet the student journalist” programme organised by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, Patiala, delegates form Pakistan interacted with students today.

“The indifferent attitude of the authorities towards Punjabi language has resulted in a sharp decline in the number of Punjabi newspapers. However, efforts are on to restore Punjabi language to its rightful place,” remarked head of the delegation Afzaar Shajid.

While paying tributes to Punjabi poetess Amrita Pritam, Prof Kirpal Kazak said: “Amrtia Pritam has set new milestones in journalism.”


M.S. Gill against any modification in marble palki
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Member of the Rajya Sabha, M.S. Gill here today urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that it would not be advisable to fix the golden palki inside the shell of the existing marble palki at Gurdwara Janamasthan at Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

He said the appearance of that “elegant canopy of marble” should not be disturbed in any manner because the canopy was of great heritage and aesthetic value. “It will not be aesthetic to fit the golden palki inside the canopy”, he added.

Moreover, Guru Nanak Dev, with whose name the gurdwara was associated, was a man of simple living. All his life, the Guru stayed away from gold and wealth.

Mr Gill urged the president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, that if he had gold at his disposal, he should do “sachha sauda” in Delhi by helping the poor and needy. ‘‘Through sachha sauda Guru Nanak Dev had given the message to all his followers that they should help the needy with what they had at their disposal”, said Mr Gill. There were a large number of Sikhs who suffered during the riots in 1984. They still needed to be helped financially, Mr Gill said.

Mr Gill said in the past a lot of damage had been done to the Sikh heritage. Further damage should be avoided. The most important need was ensure free access to the gurdwaras in Pakistan from India.

The golden palki will be offered by Mr Sarna at the gurdwara. He would be accompanied by Capt Amarinder Singh and others.


Shekhawat for more investment in farm sector
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Badal (Muktsar), November 18
The Vice-President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, today advocated more investment in agriculture and irrigation sector, besides facilitating basic amenities to rural population of the country. He stated this while inaugurating SAD president Parkash Singh Badal’s old-age home here. Mr Shekhawat said, “If the country has to progress it has to first take care of farmers’ interests, as they are the ones who are feeding our burgeoning population”.

He said there was an urgent need to bring out farmers from debt trap, as the population was increasing and their landholdings were on the decline. The Union and state governments should also focus on providing roads, power, education, employment and potable water to rural populace.

Congratulating Mr Badal for his initiative for elderly, the Vice-President said he had ensured all amenities for old-age people under one roof where they could spend their twilight years with honour. He said advancement in medical sciences had ensured longevity of age that had resulted in a rise in number of elderly. He underlined the need for such old-age homes across the country to accommodate those who were not looked after well by their near and dear ones. He said incidences of elderly couples putting up alone in cities being murdered highlighted the vulnerability of old age people in today’s society. He said the Union Government should also come up with such projects for old-age people.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Badal said the old-age home was his sincere endeavour for elderly who had contributed in their own way to the country’s development and were living in pitiable conditions. He lamented that the farmers were trapped in a vicious circle of debt and were committing suicides. If the farmers were disillusioned it would adversely affect industry and trade too hitting the overall economic growth of the country. He said 10 lakh families of the state were engaged in farming and each family had a debt of Rs 2.5 lakh.

“They are debt-ridden because they are not getting fair prices of their agricultural produce. The input costs have shot up considerably and there had been very marginal increase in prices”.

Launching a veiled attack on the state government, he rued that basic necessities like potable water were not available in villages. He said the education system had also virtually collapsed in rural areas and children were ill-equipped to face cut-throat competition in the age of globalisation.

Welcoming elderly to join his old-age home, he cautioned drug addicts wouldn’t find any place in it. He expressed his gratitude towards Mr Narottam Singh who gave away his land for the project and other philanthropists who contributed to the cause.

Meanwhile, Badal family had made all arrangements to keep the crowd glued to their seats. Punjabi singer Mr Harbhajan Mann belted out string of his popular numbers including Mirza, “Akhiya de akhe lag ke” and “Teri kive akh lag gayi”.


Fissures in SAD may cost it dear
Elections to local gurdwara parbhandak committees
Jupinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
While the heavyweights of the Shiromani Akali Dal are busy in forming permutation and combinations to appear unanimous in the election of the SGPC President, factionalism between the leaders has become too evident in the elections to the 203 local gurdwara parbhandak committees in the state.

With just three days left for the withdrawal of nominations, the SAD remains indecisive on the selection of members whom the party would support in majority of the 203 committees. The situation in most of the committees is alarming for the party with not one or two but even more than 10 or 15 local leaders of SAD pitched against each other for the coveted posts.

The indecisiveness of the party leaders over the issue has already been considerably delayed the selection of the candidates. Normally, the party decides about the candidates before filing the nomination papers. The date for the filing of the papers was November 7.

The candidates are hoping against hope that the party high command would do quick thinking by November 21 to avoid the clash between the party members during the campaigning for the December 11 elections.

The election to these local gurdwara committees are considered significant for the bigger elections of the SGPC and the Legislative Assembly. The local committees are the ground level bodies which go a long way in the mobilisation of the rank and file of the party in bigger elections.

Sources within the party reveal that petty politics of one-upmanship apart from strong groupism over the choice of the candidates were the major reasons for the delay of the party’s announcement for supporting members.

Though the members contest the election as independent candidates, various political parties, especially the SAD and Panthic parties, have been announcing support for a certain candidate.

The elections for the nearby 25 local gurdwara committees in Ludhiana district are an apt pointer towards the sorry state of affairs. As many as 15 out of 16 persons, who have filed nominations for the Gurdwara Gau Ghat Parbhandak Committee elections, have affiliations with the SAD. The committee has four seats, but the party has been helpless so far in putting the interest of the SAD above the personal interests of various individuals.

While at Jagraon leaders like Mr Harsurinder Singh and Mr Bhag Singh Malah are having clash of choice over the selection of members, Darshan Singh Shivalik and Bikramjit Singh Khalsa are working for their respective candidates in Dugri and Ayali committees.

In Ludhiana city, group of MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MLA Jagdish Singh Garcha and Avtar Singh Makkar is at loggerheads with the combination of former MP and district President, SAD Hira Singh Gabria-Amarjit Singh Bhatia.

An interesting case is of the parbhandak committee of Gurdwara Sidhwan Bet where due to party factionalism no nomination has been filed.

Interestingly, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, general secretary SAD, and observer for the elections in Ludhiana district, had formed a committee of three members: Avtar Singh Makkar, Mr Hira Singh Gabria and Baba Ajit Singh, for ironing out the differences between the leaders and unanimous choice of the candidates. The three-member committee, however, has failed to meet even once for deliberation on the issue.

The only semblance of unity in the party is at Doraha where three local gurdwara parbhandak committees have been chosen unanimously with all members belonging to the SAD.


SGJC imposes ban on SGPC recruitments
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 18
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) today imposed a blanket ban on further recruitment of employees by the SGPC till disposal of final petition filed by one Ranjit Singh Bhalla here today .

The petitioner had challenged the recruitment of about 400 employees during the presidentship of Bibi Jagir Kaur. The judicial commission took serious note that the SGPC employed about 150 more persons despite the notices issued to all concerned.


Recruitment major problem for govt
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Recruitment to fill thousands of vacancies in various government departments has become a major problem for the Amarinder Singh government.

Sources said the Punjab Council of Ministers, which discussed the issue of recruitment yesterday, failed to decide whether recruitments should be made on a contract or regular basis.

There are diverse opinions in the government in this regard.

The sources said the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, had been asked by the council to find a way to solve the problem.

At the meeting, most of the ministers urged Capt Amarinder Singh to start the recruitment process immediately as there was a lot of resentment among people due to the non-creation of jobs in the public sector. The predominant opinion was that to make need-based recruitments, the departments concerned should be asked to submit a list of vacant posts immediately.

Another view at the meeting was that a recruitment drive at this stage could prove a double-edged weapon. In Punjab, corruption had remained an integral part of recruitment. The previous SAD-BJP government was shown the door by voters because of large-scale corruption in recruitment to government jobs. It will be a big challenge before the government to ensure corruption-free, merit-based recruitment. Even for a small number of jobs, there will be thousands of applicants. While those who got jobs will be happy, the others will turn against the government.

Ministers are certain that unemployment will be one of the biggest issues in the coming Assembly elections in the state. And the government has done little as far as providing jobs in government departments is concerned. According to an estimate, there are about 30 lakh unemployed eligible youth in the state at present. The Amarinder Singh government will have to face a tough time from the Opposition while defending itself on this issue.

There are about 15,000 vacancies of teachers in government elementary and secondary schools. Nearly 700 posts of veterinary officer are vacant. Nearly 1,000 posts of PCMS doctor are also unfilled. Besides, hundreds of posts of nurse and other supporting staff in hospitals are also vacant. There are several government departments which have an acute shortage of staff at the lowest level.

About 5,000 employees retire in various government offices every year in the state. And during the past three years nearly 15,000 employees have retired but there has been no recruitment to fill the vacant slots.

Owing to the non-filling of vacant posts, a large number of posts have ceased to exist because there is a standing order of the Council of Ministers that any post which remains vacant for more than six months will be considered as "frozen". For its revival, the permission of the council will be required.

Employees under the reserved categories have been demanding the clearing of the backlog of vacant posts in various departments, but there is little possibility of this happening as posts have been "frozen".


CM, Dullo flayed on Jagjit’s issue
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 18
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP and state president of the BJP, today lambasted the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the PPCC President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, for giving a clean chit to the Minister for Local Bodies, Ch Jagjit Singh.

Speaking to newsmen at the residence of Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, a member of the BJP National Discipline Committee, here this afternoon, Mr Khanna said the allegations levelled against the Cabinet minister by a senior Congress legislator, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, were serious in nature. The Congress must go ahead with initiating a high-level inquiry against Ch Jagjit Singh than taking disciplinary action against the former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Mr Khanna regretted that Mr Natwar Singh had not been dismissed from the UPA-led government following sensational revelations made by the Volcker Committee. By enjoying all facilities as a minister without portfolio, the former Foreign Minister was capable of protecting his family and relatives during the probe, Mr Khanna added.


Reorganisation of seats: Cong to file objections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The ruling Congress, which is unhappy over the manner in which the National Delimitation Commission has reorganised, reserved and dereserved Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies in Punjab, will file its objections before the commission by November 24, the deadline fixed by the commission in this regard.

Mr C.D. Kamboj, a senior Congress leader, who was made in charge to present the party’s viewpoint before the commission with regard to the objections, said here today that the commission had not adhered to its own guidelines laid down for the reorganisation of constituencies.

Mr Kamboj said the commission had changed the dates to January 14, 15 and 16 to hear objections from public. Earlier, these hearings was to be held in the first week of December.

He said the commission had gone out of the way to keep the Lambi Assembly constituency, form where Mr Badal was elected last time, in general category. “ We will file our objections in this regard”, he added. Mr Kamboj said the viewpoint presented by the ruling Congress was by and large ignored by the commission. He said in the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency, Khemkaran, Patti and Attari Assembly segments had been reserved though these had less percentage of the Scheduled Castes compared to other segment in that Lok Sabha seat.

And then there was more than 10 per cent variation of population in certain Assembly segments of Jalandhar district. The laid down criteria was that the variation should not be more than 10 per cent in any case.


69,300 hectares of Punjab land
no longer in ‘forest areas’ list

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
A ray of hope has emerged for thousands of families in 470 villages, falling in the Shivalik belt of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and Ropar districts in Punjab.

Acting on an affidavit filed by the Punjab Government before the Special Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court, stating that around 69,300 hectares of land under cultivation and habitation had been wrongfully marked as forest land, the land would be removed from the state list of “forest areas”.

Once approved, the land which was under cultivation and habitation prior to December 1996 would come out of the purview of the Forest Conservation Act. But the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 1900, would continue to apply to the aforesaid land. Though the Punjab Forest Department had in its affidavit mentioned the area “wrongly marked as forest land”, the state would have to apply afresh to the ministry. “A favourable decision is expected soon”, said a senior officer in the state Forest Department.

Till the land is governed by the strict provision of the Forest Conservation Act, the owners of the land in these villages and panchayats cannot construct even small residential buildings, cattle sheds and tubewells on their land without obtaining the prior approval from the Union Ministry. They are challaned by the district forest officers for violating the law.

The error occurred when the Forest Department in light of the definition of forest areas reiterated by the Supreme Court in its judgment dated December 12, 1996, in CWP 202, 1995, notified the land as forest land . The state submitted affidavits before the Supreme Court in 1996 and 1998 regarding various categories of forest areas in Punjab. It included the land in the category of ‘Areas closed under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900’ (PLPA, 1900). The state has regulatory control as per the PLPA Act.

When the error was noticed, the then Chief Secretary directed the District Collectors to carry out a survey to demarcate the area which had been wrongly marked. The details provided by the Collectors was part of the affidavit filed by the state in the apex court in October 1999.

Interestingly, most of the areas was shown as ‘agricultural and inhabited area’ in the records of the Revenue Department, but the annual administrative reports of the Forest Department were showing them as forest area for decades.

The area which the state claims had been wrongly marked as forest area.

District Area (in acres)

Ropar 17510

Nawanshahr 25501

Hoshiarpur 102922

Gurdaspur 10308


Conversion charges — a windfall for Punjab
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 18
The Punjab government is all set to earn millions from the conversion charges for change of land use that have been fixed for private housing, industrial and recreational schemes in the state. These rates were fixed as part of the report of the committee headed by the Punjab chief secretary to draw a policy framework for the periphery. With these charges now fixed, decks have been cleared for over 30 mega housing projects that had been otherwise approved by the Chief Minister’s empowered committee. However, sources added the rates fixed by the government are exorbitant and might lead to many of the medium housing projects to withdraw from the state.

The private developers have a point. The policy approved by the Punjab cabinet yesterday, for example fixed Rs 258.36 lakh that a private developer would have to pay for every acre of land abutting national highways in Mohali that is converted for commercial use. For commercial conversion of land abutting scheduled roads the developer would have to pay Rs 250.36 lakh per acre and Rs 242.36 lakh per acre for land on other roads.

Out of these, Rs 150 lakh per acre would be charged only on account of the licence fee and Rs 60.36 lakh per acre is on account of the external development charges (EDC) per acre. These charges are fixed for a floor area ratio (FAR) of 1.5 and in case of higher FAR the EDC and the licence fee would increase proportionately.

Sources added that these rates would not be very different in other major cities of the state. However, in less developed and border areas where development needs to be encouraged, these rates would be substantially lower.

Similarly, group housing residential colonies around Mohali, Rs 73.36 lakh would have to be paid for every acre of land abutting national highways. For land abutting scheduled roads, the developer would have to pay Rs 71.86 lakh per acre and Rs 70.36 lakh per acre for land on other roads. The EDC in these cases is Rs 60.36 lakh and the licence fee is Rs 4 lakh an acre.

For normal plotted residential colonies, Rs 23.09 lakh would have to be paid per acre for every acre of land abutting national highways. For residential conversion of land abutting scheduled roads the developer would have to pay Rs 22.09 lakh per acre and Rs 21.09 lakh per acre for land on other roads. For conversion of land for industrial use, developers would have to pay Rs 36.68 lakh for every acre of land abutting national highways. For industrial conversion of land abutting scheduled roads the developer would have to pay Rs 35.68 lakh per acre and Rs 34.68 lakh per acre for land on other roads. The EDC in such cases is a little over Rs 30 lakh per acre.

Similarly, for conversion of land for recreational and institutional use, developers would have to pay Rs 21.59 lakhs for every acre of land abutting national highways. For conversion of land abutting scheduled roads would have to pay Rs 20.59 lakh per acre and Rs 19.59 lakh per acre for land on other roads. In both such cases the EDC is a little over Rs 15 lakh per acre.


TB also ‘causes infertility’ among women
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 18
A substantial proportion of female infertility is also caused by tuberculosis (TB), besides the TB disease kills more women in India than any other infectious disease and adversely affects childcare.

This was stated by Dr Surinder Singla, a chest and TB specialist, and in charge, District TB Centre, Sangrur, in his keynote address at a seminar on “Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) and TB awareness — need of the hour” at the National School of Nursing here today.

Dr Singla said the children of the mothers infected with TB in several cases also left their schools to support their families financially or look after their brothers, sisters, etc. Due to the stigma attached to the TB, in several cases women also faced problems like ostracism within their houses and in the neighbourhood, he added.

Dr Singla disclosed that more than 27,000 suspected TB patients had got the benefit of free diagnosis facility to rule out TB and about 6,400 TB-affected patients had got benefit of free treatment facility in Sangrur district since January 1, 2003, when the RNTCP was launched.

He said the TB was a curable disease and not a social stigma so the people must be aware of the importance of earlier possible diagnosis and treatment of the disease. He said the RNTCP, launched for diagnosis and treatment of TB patients free of cost, had reached 95 per cent population of the country so far while the remaining population would be covered by the end of this year.

Mr Shiv Arya, Director of the nursing school, said to control the TB prevention of spread of the HIV/AIDS and drug abuse was a must as all these were inter-linked. He said the nursing school would extend all possible help to the authorities concerned to generate awareness about TB and doing advocacy of the RNTCP.

Ms Iqbal Kaur, Principal of the nursing school, Dr Dimple and Ms Harpreet Zora Singh, a student of the school, participated in the deliberations.


Dispensary opens in slum area
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November18
Mr Tara Singh Ahuja, chairman, Homoeopathic Medical College, here today inaugurated a dispensary at Brahmkshtriya Dharamshala located in the slum area of the Nai Abadi locality.

Mr Gauri Shankar Khatri, a promoter of the dharamshala, had recently got the abandoned building renovated to provide free of cost medical facilities to the residents. Mr Khatri had planted more than 10,000 saplings in the parks, cremation grounds and educational institutions under the save-environment plan.

Doctors of Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital will run the dispensary on the charity basis, Dr Rajinder Girdhar, principal of the college, said.


Burail Jail ex-Supdt case: Punjab
asked to restrain probe

Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 18
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has restrained the Punjab Government from continuing with the ongoing departmental inquiry against the former Superintendent of Burail Jail, Mr D.S. Rana. Mr Rana, who is presently on bail in the case pertaining to the escape of three main accused involved in the assassination of then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh from the high security Burail Jail, had been chargesheeted by the Punjab Government.

In his petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, challenging the inquiry, Mr Rana has stated that holding the inquiry against him even as the trial in the jailbreak case was still on would prejudice his case.

He stated that the charges on which the inquiry is being conducted are similar to the facts before the trial court. He has stated that by asking him to reply to the inquiry, the government was forcing him to disclose his defence in the trial.

After hearing his counsel, the Division Bench comprising Mr Justice J.S. Narang and Mr Justice Baldev Singh stayed the proceedings of the inquiry. The matter was later adjourned to January 11.


Lecturer’s suicide: judicial remand for husband
Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 18
A local court yesterday remanded Ajitpal Singh, the husband of a local lecturer who had committed suicide in Mohali, to 14 days of judicial remand.

Ajitpal Singh had been arrested by the police two days ago and was presented before the court yesterday following the end of his one day police remand.

Amardeep Kaur a resident of Mohali had allegedly committed suicide early this month due to constant harassment for dowry by her in-laws ever since she got married two years ago. Amardeep Kaur was working in a college at Chunni.


Vigilance nabs sales tax inspector
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
The Patiala Vigilance Bureau today nabbed a Sunam-based sales tax inspector for allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 1000.

According to Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP (Vigilance), a team led by DSP Benarsi Dass trapped the inspector Sarup Singh on a complaint filed by Mr Shinder Singh, a Sunam-based petrol pump proprietor. Mr Shinder Singh had claimed that he had applied for a VAT number from the Excise Department but Mr Sarup Singh had insisted that he would get the number provided he was paid Rs 1000 for the favour.


Inter-zonal youth festival opens
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 18
The four-day final inter-zonal (men and women) youth festival of Guru Nanak Dev University commenced on the university campus here today. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, inaugurated the festival.

More than 1,000 student-artistes hailing from various affiliated colleges located in the five districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr are participating in 36 different items of fine art, dance, folk song, theatre, etc. Dr S.P. Singh said such festivals were the major channel to preserve our rich cultural heritage.

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